The Best Spots for Pizza in the Twin Cities
When your friends can’t decide what to eat, pizza feels like the most democratic choice. But, picking the perfect pie is next to impossible -- it depends on your opinion regarding essentials: crust, sauce, shape, toppings, dietary restrictions, and so on. Fortunately, the Twin Cities isn’t lacking for pizza places, so there’s truly something for everyone, whether you’re a meat lover or vigilant vegan. We can’t name every spot in Minneapolis or St. Paul, but here is a can’t-go-wrong list of family favorites and trendy takes so you can decide on the absolute best pizza for you.
Neapolitan joint emphasizes local produce
Big River was born out of local farmers’ markets, so it’s no surprise that the shop opened across the street from one of the busiest in St. Paul. Cleverly dubbed “Minne-politan,” the pizza style is a Neapolitan thin crust combined with fresh produce, cheeses, and meats. During the warmer months, Big River also has an oven-on-wheels that they bring around to local festivals and events. Try the St. Paulie Girl topped with prosciutto and arugula or the 10,000 Leeks featuring Gruyere, potatoes, leeks, and sour cream.
Smoky slices lead the coal-fired pack
Black Sheep was the first coal-fired restaurant in the Cities, and cooking pies using that method has two benefits. One, it’s good for the environment thanks to its comparatively low emissions, and the crust gets a charred, slightly smoky flavor. Black Sheep numbers its pizzas 1-12, and the approach is more minimalist than many other places, but Black Sheep favors quality over quantity. Be sure to try the hot salami and dried chili pepper (No. 3); the oyster mushroom and rosemary (No. 7); or the Persian beef, feta, and harissa (No. 11) pies.
Argentinian empanada shop does pizza right
Widely known for its doughy filled pockets, Boludo’s also got pizza down-pat. The shop is super-small but serves up big, unexpected flavors. The crusts are nice and chewy, and salted to the edges on some pizzas. When it comes to standout flavors, try the Peras with pear, gorgonzola, pine nuts, and dill or the Campo -- chorizo, mushroom, mozz, and thick tomato sauce. You never knew you wanted Argentine pizza so badly.
Faithful standby that will never empty your wallet
With more than a dozen locations across the state (almost all in the metro), Broadway Pizza has been serving up fairly priced, classic thin-crust pies for more than 65 years. The Broadway in North Minneapolis is considered the “landmark” location, nestled right along the railroad tracks near the Mississippi. Standout selections include the Pork n’ Kraut with Canadian bacon and sauerkraut, the Meat at Broadway with homemade sausage, and the Eddie’s Extra Special with shrimp and veggies.
Underground cavern hides an upscale pizza bar
Located directly underneath Burch Steakhouse (you may not even notice the downstairs entrance), Burch Pizza is already on a whole other level. In his subterranean setting, chef Isaac Becker’s bar serves up carefully chosen wines while the pizza menu pulls off some unusual combinations. The Gorgonzola Mostarda Prosciutto -- with crème fraîche, gorgonzola, prosciutto, and orange mostarda -- is a hit, as is the Tonno Diavolo with tomato, tuna, endive, and lime.
Hometown no-frills favorite with 30-plus locations
If you’re looking for simple, straight-up neighborhood pizza, Carbone’s is your joint. With a location in nearly every part of the metro, you can’t miss finding this family favorite -- and you’re likely to run into someone you know there. Classic combos like the Special (sausage, pepperoni, veggies) and the Cheeseburger (beef, onion, dill pickle) come square-cut on a thin, crisp crust.
Traditional pizzas with a centuries-old legacy
Cossetta has been serving award-winning, authentic pizzas since the early 1900s -- a really long time to perfect a pie. The dough is always made from scratch and kneaded by hand into a thin, crispy crust. Service here is straight-forward: Order by the number of toppings you want, and choose from a lengthy ingredient list. We recommend the specialty Margherita with extra virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozz, and sweet basil. While you won’t find Cossetta on the list of latest hotspots, there’s certainly something to be said for centuries-old consistency.
Artisan, named-after-nature creations
It’s a smart move to have a pie place right down the street from taprooms that don’t serve food -- and even smarter when the pizza’s as good as Element’s. This Nordeast gem serves some seriously good Neopolitan combinations from its wood-fired oven. Depending on your sauce preference, you can pick Napoli, Margherita, or bianco style for the base. When it comes to creations, naturally, there are earth, wind, fire, and water pizzas. (Fire is the most popular, with spicy sausage, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese.) We always knew pizza was essential to the universe.
Authentic Italian New York-style pizza
Fat Lorenzo’s prides itself on being “Italian in a big way,” as its tagline boasts, and this old-school Italian classic does pizza in a way you won’t fuhgeddaboud. The restaurant is covered with colorful murals by local artists and the gigantic New York-style pies will satisfy even the hungriest diner. Try the Fat’s (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives) or, if you want a true pizza experience, the New Haven-style clam pizza. Never had clams on your pie? There’s a first time for everything -- and Lorenzo’s is the place to try it.
Globally-inspired pies hit home
Just this year, local Top Chef alum Justin Sutherland closed his American pub Fitzgerald’s, and then reopened it as pizza bar The Fitz. Deep-dish pies are wood-fired and named after neighborhoods, cities, and countries around the world. Try the Paris (Dijon, gruyere, ham, egg); Savannah (shrimp, andouille sausage, corn, potatoes, Old Bay); or, if you’re really feeling adventurous, the Osaka (Spam, pineapple, soy, and Japanese mayo). No matter what you pick, this is the place to get your pizza passport stamped.
Orders delivered by superheroes save the environment
Ever had your pizza delivered by a caped crusader? Well, Galactic Pizza isn’t your average pie place. With pizzas are brought to your door on bike, foot, or electric vehicle by someone dressed in a superhero costume, the restaurant doubles down on its philosophy to deliver “planet-saving pizza” with the power of renewable energy and eco-friendly materials. Galactic also offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Try The Organic Veggie, Brooklyn Bee with local honey, or The Second Harvest Heartland -- in which partial proceeds go to Minnesota’s largest hunger relief organization. This all makes you feel a little less guilty about eating the whole pizza, right?
Chicago-style slices imported to the Cities
Although Giordano’s is a Chicago institution, since its auspicious arrival in the Twin Cities, loyal fans haven't had to travel far to satisfy a craving. The chain popularized the deep-dish stuffed pizza in the ’70s, and no one else does it quite the same. In Uptown, hungry post-happy hour twentysomethings pack the place, while in Richfield it’s more soccer teams and families. Obviously, order the Chicago Classic -- pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions -- on a stuffed deep-dish crust. And get lots of napkins.
Humble neighborhood institution, but no humble pie
If you’ve never been to Mama’s, you’re missing out. With just one location, the place might not be on your radar unless you’re from the neighborhood. The super-casual, homey dining room churns out pizzas quickly, all laden with Mama’s famous red sauce and more cheese than you knew was possible. Try the Flavor Explosion -- bursting with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and pineapple -- or build your own from a long list of ingredients. You’ll be stuffed, and if you’re eating in, Mama’s brings you a complimentary soft-serve cone for dessert. You got this.
Best after-bar bet with funky flavors
With two locations in close proximity to college kids and recent grads, Mesa is the go-to spot for a 2am slice. Even better, there are more than 40 funky pies on the menu so even if you go often, you won’t run out of options. Popular after-bar foods (think gyros, French fries, and mac & cheese) have been transformed into pizza toppings. The results are weird, but they work. The Tortellini Pesto, Philly Cheesesteak, and Spicy Chicken Quesadilla pizzas will have you wondering why you haven’t tried to drunkenly create these combos at home.
Deep-fried dough “Montanara-style”
Tim Niver’s old-school Italian eatery started in St. Paul and recently opened a second location in Uptown -- and both have some serious pies on the menu. It’s hard to choose, but the Camilla (topped with garlic butter and fried chicken) or the basic Jane (special sauce, mozzarella) come highly recommended. Mucci’s makes its pizzas “Montanara-style,” frying the pizza dough before it’s baked for a lighter, airier crust. Wash your slice down with the “house special,” a refreshing mix of red wine and Orange Fanta called Mucci’s Juice.
Neighborhood joint with kid-friendly nosh
Parkway is the epitome of a neighborhood pizza place -- families pack in after soccer practice, couples flock for Friday date nights, and birthday parties bring boisterous gaggles of kids. The pizza is square-cut, thin crust, and generously topped. Try the Minnehaha Greek, the Spicy Garlic Chicken, or Pico de Gallo pies. Vegan and gluten-free diners can also be accommodated -- Parkway prides itself on the “best vegan pizza ever.”
Suburban spot where you can really pig out
The wildly popular, family-friendly pizza pub owned by Travail Collective has always delivered a squeal-worthy dining experience. However, things have really been heating up this year -- the restaurant took over Travail Kitchen & Amusements’ old space and more than doubled in size. Lucky for us, this means there’s more tables to sit down and consume Pig’s thick, buttery crusts with loads of meat. Try the Bay O’ Pigs Cuban sandwich-inspired pizza or the Piggy Pie with bacon emulsion, black pepper fennel, and pork sausage. (These pies can all be made gluten-free, too.) There’s also a new microbrewery in the space. Cheers to moving on up!
Minnesota chain with nine locations and creative pies
Luce lovers agree -- this pizza purveyor has creative flavor combinations and great beer pairings. And, with nine locations, it’s almost guaranteed one will deliver (in a box adorned with a heart) if you live in the Cities or surrounding suburbs. With pies like the Baked Potato Pizza (garlic red mashed potatoes, broccoli, and bacon); Pizza Athena (Kalamata olives, artichokes, and spinach); and Fire Breathing Dragon (sweet chili sauce and spicy Jerk chicken), you’re bound to get something other than a standard one-topping. Luce also offers vegan and gluten-free options for nearly everything on the menu.
James Beard Award-winning Korean-inspired pizzas
Nearly a decade ago, entrepreneur Ann Kim quit her day job to open an artisanal pizza place named after her dog. Now, she’s a James Beard Award-winning chef at the helm of two other successful restaurants, as well as a third about to open. Kim brings her Korean heritage to many pies on the menu, such as The Lady ZaZa (house-made kimchi, Korean sausage, and sesame soy-chili glaze) and Korean BBQ (beef short ribs, mozzarella, and arugula). Lola's wood-paneled dining room -- which is arranged around its oven -- also features a photo booth, solid wine and beer list, and special soft-serve ice cream with olive oil and sea salt.
Rustic-chic concept follows in burger brother’s footsteps
A few years back, restaurateur Luke Shimp gave his wildly successful Red Cow burger enterprise an Italian sibling -- Red Rabbit. Once the North Loop location took off, Rabbit opened a second location on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue in 2018. Everything on the menu is amazing, but the Spicy Salami pizza is probably the most-ordered pie, with chilis, ricotta, and honey. The most unusual? Definitely the PBJ with pineapple, bacon, and jalapeño -- don’t knock it until you try it.
Farm-to-table pies made famous on The Food Network
The owners of Red Wagon started out by selling pizzas at farmers’ markets, and their use of locally sourced produce and meats is still evident in the brick and mortar shop. Pies are wood-fired and crusts manage to be both crispy and chewy at the same time. Try the restaurant’s namesake, The Red Wagon, with homemade sausage, sopressata, and banana peppers. If you’re feeling edgy, The Nash laced with spicy Buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and cornflake-crusted chicken is a crowd-pleaser. After appearing on Guy Fieri’s famous Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the restaurant gained more fame -- if that’s even possible.
Brewery serves up “New Haven-style” pizza
Chances are good you’ve been to Surly’s massive beer hall, but you’ve missed out if you haven’t gone up one floor for pizza. Surly makes its pies “New Haven-style,” which is a regional Connecticut tradition created by Italian immigrants. The dough is chilled for several days and then formed into thin orbs and baked until it’s charred. This style of pizza is simple and light on toppings, like the Mama Fratelli with mushrooms, cheese, garlic, and thyme. Points for creativity go to the Walter White topped with potato, rosemary, garlic, Parmesan, and onions.
Busy, buzzy, sophisticated sister to Lola
Ann Kim’s third restaurant in town has been open for a few years, but it’s still a hard weekend table to score. Sister to Pizzeria Lola, Young Joni is more upscale, offering fine-dining touches and an impressive back bar. The pizzas are globally influenced and adorned with names like La Parisienne (prosciutto, gruyere, and brown butter) and The Basque (Spanish chorizo, piquillo pepper, and Castelvetrano olives). Even if you have to wait a while, trust us, it’s worth it.
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